Retail / Technology

How coupon startup SnipSnap is using iBeacon to send ads to your phone

Department store Lord & Taylor has tapped SnipSnap to send shoppers specific promos depending on where they are in the store.

Mobile couponing company SnipSnap is ramping up its location-based efforts in a new pilot with department store Lord & Taylor.

The Center City startup is using iBeacon — the Apple technology that lets iOS apps get location-based notifications through Bluetooth — to send shoppers specific Lord & Taylor promos depending on where they are in the store, said SnipSnap CEO Ted Mann. If a SnipSnap user is walking by the Michael Kors area of the department store, for instance, the beacon will trigger a push notification for that person’s phone. It could be an ad for a Michael Kors sale or a special Michael Kors coupon.

The program is being tested in five Lord & Taylor stores and five Canada-based Hudson’s Bay stores. There are about 25 beacons, manufactured by Boston-based Swirl, around each store, Mann said.

iBeacon won’t be SnipSnap’s new focus, Mann said. It’s more that the company wants to be able to support this technology for its retail partners. Lord & Taylor is one of SnipSnap’s 40-plus retail partners, which pay SnipSnap every time one of their coupons is redeemed. That’s how the startup makes most of its revenue, Mann said.

SnipSnap has been offering location-based services to its clients since it launched, but it’s been experimenting with new technologies in the last year. It started using “geofencing” technology last fall, which allows a phone to store data on the exact shapes of malls and sends relevant coupons when a user is near a mall. SnipSnap is using this technology with all the “top tier shopping centers” around the country, Mann said.

Companies: SnipSnap
People: Ted Mann

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